Thursday, 15 November, 2018

Brussels looks to protect European Union companies after Trump quits Iran deal

Tusk even compared the US administration to Europe’s traditional foes Moscow and Beijing Tusk even compared the US administration to Europe’s traditional foes Moscow and Beijing
Steven Clarke | 16 May, 2018, 21:59

A top European Union official branded President Donald Trump selfish and capricious Wednesday as EU leaders gathered to count the likely economic damage US policies might inflict on the bloc and to try to rescue the Iran nuclear deal.

Mr Tusk said: "Besides traditional political challenges, such as the rise of China or the aggressive stance of Russian Federation, we are witnessing today a new phenomenon: the capricious assertiveness of the American administration".

'With friends like that, who needs enemies?' European Council president asks.

"The extra-territorial dimension of USA sanctions is unacceptable". But Europeans are increasingly exasperated by the way Trump is steering US policy, objecting not only to his stances but also to what they say is erratic policymaking that switches on the whim of Fox News programmers. Tusk, who is a former Polish prime minister, said in a statement to reporters.

"With friends like that who needs enemies", tweeted Donald Tusk, the president of the EU's European Council.

"Juncker and [Foreign Affairs chief Federica] Mogherini will present various variants of how to protect the interests of European operators after the departure of the USA from the nuclear agreement", a senior EU official told reporters on May 15 ahead of the EU-Western Balkans Summit in Sofia.

Iran's President Rouhani seeks to preserve nuclear agreement with Europe
European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini insisted that it's not up to the U.S.to determine the deal's future anyway. Foreign companies that do business in the country have also been banned from accessing American banking and financial systems.

The senior official said that European Union should be grateful to Trump as he helped the bloc get rid of its illusions. Because, thanks to him, we got rid of all the illusions. He has made us realize that if you need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm. "The deal is good for European and global security, which is why we must maintain it", he said. And he said that the EU would work to develop ways to shield European companies that continue to do business with Iran from any sanctions or other penalties imposed by Washington.

That came a day after many European newspapers featured dueling photographs on their front pages: the beaming visage of first daughter Ivanka Trump opening the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, and the smoky carnage an hour's drive away in Gaza, where scores of Palestinian protesters were killed by the Israeli military.

In a letter to his European colleagues ahead of a summit Wednesday evening, Tusk doubled down on his convictions.

The European Commission is refusing to open talks on wider trade terms with the USA, including import tariffs on cars - a bugbear of the United States president - until it receives a permanent exemption from punitive taxes on European steel and aluminium. There appears to have been little progress in those discussions. "It's a moment of truth for Europe", he said.

"We notably discussed concrete practical solutions to make sure the European Union can continue to live up to its commitments under the deal and protect our economic operations", said Avramopoulos, the EU's migration commissioner.

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